Application framework of redpesk


The application framework of redpesk provides components to install and remove applications as well as to run them in a secured environment.

The main functionalities are:

  • install/remove applications and services

  • start/terminate installed applications and services

  • answer simple queries: what is installed? what runs?

The application framework fills the gap between the applications development model and the effective system implementation.

The framework manages applications and hides their security details. To achieves it, the framework is built on top of security frameworks of Linux: standard DAC and a MAC module SELinux and/or Smack.

The packaging of applications

The application framework of redpesk is only responsible of managing applications packaged for it.

Applications for the framwork are packaged and delivered in a digitally signed RPM that contains:

  • the application and its files: programs, libraries, config, data, …
  • metadata for redpesk framework
    • for newer designs:
      • a configuration file manifest.yml in a directory .rpconfig
      • some signature files in directory .rpconfig
    • for framework before arz-1.1
      • a configuration file config.xml in root directory
      • some signature files in root directory

The presence of the directory .rpconfig (or for older packaging of config.xml) is the key telling that the package is for the framework. RPM that do not have that this key are standard RPM.

Process of installation

When installing a RPM, the system detects if it is a RPM for the framework or not. When it is a package for the framework, its metadata are scanned and used for setting up:

  1. the DAC and MAC security properties of the installed files
  2. the MAC security rules for the package
  3. the cynagora permissions granted to the applications
  4. the systemd services that setup security and start applications
  5. the start dependency graph of applications

The figure below summerize the process.

application installation

The framework ensures that sensitive services, devices or resources of the platform are protected. Applications can access these sensitive resources only if explicitly permitted to do so.

It also adds the description of dependency to other service because redpesk programming model emphasis micro-services architecture design.

As today this model allows the distribution of HTML and binary applications but it could be extended to any other class of applications.


Signature make possible to allow or deny permissions required by the
application based on certificates of signers.

A chain of trust in the creation of certificates allows a hierarchical
structuring of permissions.

This item is 90% implemented.

The security model

The security model refers to how DAC (Discretionary Access Control), MAC (Mandatory Access Control) and Capabilities are used by the system to ensure security and privacy.

The application framework uses the security model/framework to ensure the security and the privacy of the applications that it manages.

The security framework includes:

  • sec-lsm-manager: component that interact with the security module of linux (Smack)
  • sec-cynagora: component to manage permissions
  • afmpkg-daemon: component to install and remove packages of the framework
  • redpesk: RPM plugin in that interacts with afmpkg-installer
  • D-Bus compliant to Cynagora: checks the permissions to deliver messages

In theory, the security framework/model is an implementation details that should not impact the programming model from a user point of view.


redpesk framework will include self security diagnostic by analysing audit and log reports.

Systemd services

When applications are installed, the framework creates systemd services and the dependency graph of the services.

This process, shown on the below figure, uses a configuration file that can be tuned by implementers.

application installation

Environment setup

Integration of the security framework requires some setting up of directories, files and permissions. This setup is done at different stages:

  • static setting: during creation of the system

  • dynamic settings:

    • during installation of applications
    • at system start-up
    • when a user environment is started

The dynamic settings are made using systemd services of the application framework. These services are:

  • afm-system-setup.service: global setup of the system at start

  • afm-user-session@.service: start and hold user session for one user

  • afm-user-setup@.service: setup the user session started by afm-user-session